Hewlett-Packard faced the challenge that consumers and IT customers viewed the company "as a printer company that also makes PCs".
For HP to become the number one technology company, our goal is to persuade potential customers that HP is a multifaceted company leading the IT sector. The ultimate goal is to make HP an "icon" brand.
The key objective for this campaign was to enhance HP's new brand promise of being the provider of "vital technology for business and life" through "communication" and "demonstration".
Research revealed that when people realise the depth and breadth of HP's expertise, they re-appraise their view of HP and are more likely to consider or prefer using the brand.
As part of the media brief, ZenithOptimedia was challenged to deliver "iconic" media solutions that would help change the way the brand was perceived.
We developed a media solution that brought the brand strategy to life by showcasing HP's technology via a programming partnership with Discovery Channel.
Discovery shares HP's core brand values of being "human", "dynamic" and "inventive" and through research we established that the Discovery audience profile had an excellent fit with HP's consumer target of upscale adults, who use technology to enrich their lives. Further research insights showed that among our core target there is a high interest in the arts and culture, including watching factual TV programmes.
We partnered with Discovery on a new genre of history documentary that was reliant on CGI technology (computer graphics imaging) to enhance the viewer experience.
"Virtual History" was the launch of a new documentary format using CGI technology to recreate in film, great moments in history and merge them with existing archive footage, with the effect that the "real" footage cannot be distinguished from the computer generated scenes.
The pilot programme examined the plot to assassinate Hitler in July 1944 which had it been successful would have changed the course of the war.
The special effects technology processes are lengthy and expensive.
For HP, this association became an opportunity to develop a business partnership with Discovery.
Thus the partnership between HP and Discovery Channel for programme content development laid out a roadmap for an ongoing business partnership for the future.
All sponsorship elements surrounding the programme used the core idea of the CGI generated face; in trailers, sponsorship credits, vignettes, online and off line marketing.
"Virtual Face" – a short form programme – illustrated the evolution of CGI since the early 20th Century and the face of Winston Churchill was used to bring this to life.
This created an opportunity to showcase HP's new digital media services being developed at their R&D unit in Europe: HP Labs.
An extensive PR campaign culminated in a Discovery-hosted launch event with worldwide press in attendance.
In addition to the sponsorship elements, we also ran an advertising spot package which featured the "Dreamworks + hp" partnership and the "You + hp" Digital Imaging executions.
More than 15 million adults have watched Virtual History, significantly over-delivering against the original estimates.
The post campaign awareness for spot advertising was much higher among those aware of the sponsorship association.
More importantly, the research highlights that this association was very effective for HP in helping to change people's perceptions.
Key learnings from focus groups show viewers understood the relevance of HP's sponsorship and found it a rewarding experience.
This campaign won a Media Lion at the 2005 Cannes Lion International Advertising Festival.